Program

Nov 27, 2007

OVERVIEW

The Strong African American Families (SAAF) program was designed for low-income African American children who are nearing adolescence.  The program seeks to prevent initiation to risk behaviors such as drug abuse, alcohol and cigarette use, and sexual activity.  An experimental evaluation in which four counties were randomly assigned to the treatment or a no-treatment control recruited 11-year-old students from schools in each county.  Analyses of the SAAF program found that it was effective in increasing positive parenting behaviors, protective factors in children, and decreasing risk behaviors in children.  Program impacts persisted at a two-year follow-up; children had higher levels of protective factors and were less likely to start drinking alcohol.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Rural African American families with 11 year-old children

The SAAF program is a short intervention for African American families with children nearing adolescence.  The program consists of 7 consecutive weekly sessions lasting 2½ hours each in length.  At sessions, families eat a meal together and then divide into parent and child small groups for discussion.  For the final hour of each session, the groups reunite for a large-group meeting.  The focus of the sessions are on effective parenting behaviors, providing guidance and support for children, helping children appreciate their parents, and teaching children skills to deal with stress and peer pressure.  To facilitate attendance, families in the program are provided with transportation and child care if needed.  Sessions are taught by community members who are trained in the curriculum.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., McNair, L., Brown, A. C., Wills, T. A., Molgaard, V., Spoth, R. L., Luo, Z., & Chen, Y. (2006).  The Strong African American Families program: Prevention of youths’ high-risk behavior and a test of the model of change.  Journal of Family Psychology, 20(1), 1-11.

Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., Molgaard, V., McNair, L., Brown, A. C., Wills, T. A., Spoth, R. L., Luo, Z., Chen, Y., & Neubaum-Carlan, E. (2004).  The Strong African American Families program: Translating research into prevention programming.  Child Development, 75(3), 900-917.

Evaluated population: 332 African American families with 11 year-old children living in rural Georgia.  Almost all of the families in the study were living below the national poverty level, and the median family income was just under $20,000.  More than half of target 11 year-old children were female (53.6%).  Mothers in the study were often married (57%) and had graduated from high school or had completed their GED (78.7%).

Approach: Each of eight rural counties were randomly assigned to the treatment SAAF program or a control condition.  African American families with 11 year-old children were then randomly selected from school lists.  Families in the treatment condition attended 7 weekly 2-hour meetings for a total of 14 hours of programming.  Families in the control condition received 3 mailings with information on parenting.  Families in both conditions were paid $100 for completion of both the pre- and post-test measures.  The researchers collected data on parent-reported communicative parenting, youth-reported parenting behaviors, and risk behaviors through home visits.

Results: At pre-test, families from the treatment and control groups were equivalent on all measures except that treatment families tended to have more children and mothers in the control group expressed more negative attitudes about risk behaviors.  At post-test, mothers in the intervention condition reported more positive communicative parenting than those in the control group.  Parents in the intervention group were more likely to have involved-vigilant parenting, discussions with children about sex, and have clear expectations about alcohol use.  Likewise, children in the treatment condition reported more positive changes in parenting behavior than those in the control group.  Additionally, children in the treatment condition were less likely to engage in risk behaviors and more likely to have protective factors than those in the control condition.  The effect sizes of the program on outcomes are: communicative parenting (0.47), youth protective factors (0.39), child-reported parenting (0.08), and parent-reported behaviors (0.32).  In exploratory analysis, researchers found that families who had attended more than 5 of the treatment sessions had greater changes in communicative parenting and youth risk behaviors than those in the control group.

Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Kogan, S. M., Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., Molgaard, V., Brown, A. C., Anderson, T., Chen, Y., Luo, Z., & Wills, T. A. (2006).  The Strong African American Families Program: A cluster-randomized prevention trial of long-term effects and a mediational model.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(2), 356-366.

Evaluated population: 332 African American families with 11 year-old children living in rural Georgia.  Almost all of the families in the study were living below the national poverty level and the median family income was just under $20,000.  More than half of target 11 year-old children were female (53.6%).  Most mothers in the study were married (57%) and had graduated from high school or had completed their GED (78.7%).

Approach: This study is a 2-year (data were collected approximately 29 months after the start of the program) follow-up analysis of the previous study.  Similar to the pre- and post-test data collections, participants were again paid $100 after providing data for the 2-year follow-up.  Data were collected by trained students who were blind to conditions.  They visited treatment and control families at their homes for 2 hours.  The researchers collected data on alcohol use as well as youth protective factors such as future-oriented goals, resistance efficacy, negative images of drinkers, and negative attitudes towards alcohol use.

Results: Children in the treatment group were less likely than those in the control group to have started using alcohol since baseline.  Children in the treatment group had more protective factors than those in the control group.

Note: Analyses were designed to adjust for the effect of clustering within schools.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Program information available at: http://www.cfr.uga.edu/html/saaf.html

References

Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Chen, Y., Kogan, S. M., & Brown, A. C. (2006).  Effects of family risk factors on dosage and efficacy of a family-centered preventative intervention for rural African Americans.  Preventative Science, 7, 281-291.

Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., McNair, L., Brown, A. C., Wills, T. A., Molgaard, V., Spoth, R. L., Luo, Z., & Chen, Y. (2006).  The Strong African American Families program: Prevention of youths’ high-risk behavior and a test of the model of change.  Journal of Family Psychology, 20(1), 1-11.

Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., Molgaard, V., McNair, L., Brown, A. C., Wills, T. A., Spoth, R. L., Luo, Z., Chen, Y., & Neubaum-Carlan, E. (2004).  The Strong African American Families program: Translating research into prevention programming.  Child Development, 75(3), 900-917.

Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Kogan, S. M., Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., Molgaard, V., Brown, A. C., Anderson, T., Chen, Y., Luo, Z., & Wills, T. A. (2006).  The Strong African American Families Program: A cluster-randomized prevention trial of long-term effects and a mediational model.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(2), 356-366.

Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., McNair, L., Chen, Y., Gibbons, F. X., Gerrard, M., & Wills, T. A. (2005).  Linking changes in parenting to parent-child relationship quality and youth self-control: The Strong African American Families Program.  Journal of Research on Adolescence, 15(1), 47-69.

Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Cleveland, M. J., & Wills, T. A. (2006).  A theory-based dual-focus alcohol intervention for preadolescents: The Strong African American Families Program.  Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 20(2), 185-195.

Murry, V. M., Brody, G. H., McNair, L. D., Luo, Z., Gibbons, F. X., Gerrard, M., & Wills, T. A. (2005).  Parental involvement promotes rural African American youths’ self-pride and sexual self-concepts.  Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(3), 627-642.

Wills, T. A., Murry, V. M., Brody, G. H., Gibbons, F. X., Gerrard, M., Walker, C., Ainette, M. G. (2007).  Ethnic pride and self-control related to protective and risk factors: Test of the theoretical model for the Strong African American Families Program.  Health Psychology, 26(1), 50-59.

KEYWORDS: Middle Childhood (6-11), Children, High-Risk, Parent or Family Component, Black or African American, Community-Based, Clinic-Based, Provider-Based, Rural, Substance Use, Alcohol Use, Tobacco Use, Illicit Drugs, Reproductive Health, Teen Pregnancy, Risky Sex, Behavioral Problems,  Mental Health, Social Emotional Health, Family Functioning.

Program information last updated 11/27/07

Subscribe to Child Trends

Short weekly updates of recent research on children and youth.